Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gobble Gobble Hey

This Thursday, November 27th, millions of Americans will gather around a table and celebrate life and the gifts that living brings us. In a country where our food heritage is dissipating quickly, this is one day where the nation will slow down, savor a meal, reflect on the year prior, and enjoy the company they share. I know, I know. I'm totally putting a warm and fuzzy spin on a holiday that may not necessarily be the Norman Rockwell-esque dream that we all hope will happen.
In my opinion, it all comes down to how you view food and the way you treat the bounty we've all been given. On Sunday I had the privilege to go to the Ballard Farmer's Market and peruse the various stalls and what they had to offer. I crunched through samples of juicy apples, joked with fellow shoppers, and savored the lingering taste of decadent smoked salmon. Market Street was buzzing with excitement as chefs, foodies, and culinary greenhorns came together to prepare for our nation's greatest food holiday. Having experienced the Thanksgiving crowds at a variety of chain grocery stores that will remain nameless, and the stressful clientèle that pushed their way to the menagerie of canned cuisine, I can imagine the anxiety that plagues a great number of us throughout the entire day.

It doesn't have to be that way, you know. With careful planning, and a light-hearted attitude, you can have a remarkable day. Common thanksgiving disasters are easily avoidable. To prevent roasting a par-frozen bird, I've found that they thaw at rate of about 4 hours per pound. To avoid lumps in your gravy, try using what the French call a beurre manie. A beurre manie is made with equal parts room temperature butter and flour, kneaded together, and it will thicken your pan juices into a gravy so silky, Squanto'd be envious of your feast!

For my thanksgiving menu, I plan to cook a variety of dishes that combine family traditions, personal experiences, and my culinary education.


Local mixed greens tossed in a cranberry-cava vinaigrette and toasted pumpkin seeds

Yukon Gold potato soup with baby leeks and bacon

Grandma Noonan's Ecumenical Rolls

Oven-roasted turkey basted with white wine, butter and sage, served with giblet gravy

Rustic dressing with pork sausage, herbs and fresh cranberries

Alm Hill Gardens' Delicata Squash roasted with olive oil, cinnamon, and sea salt

Green Beans sauteed with pancetta, caramelized shallots and sherry vinegar

Dad's World Famous Mashers...recipe never to be revealed...

Cranberry sauce with clove, peppercorn, and honeycrisp apple

Candied yams with brulee'd marshmallow creme

Pilgrim Pumpkin Pie served with maple whipped cream

Have fun cooking, and I hope your Thanksgiving is as exciting as a runaway balloon in the Macy's parade!

And remember, no matter the catastrophe, it could be way could be a vegan!!!